Kai Wright: Yes, Mr. President, This Was a Referendum on Your Leadership

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama

Colorlines' Kai Wright lets President Obama know that he's going to have to fight for his base with the same vigor that he pursues bankers. Wright states that what's missing from Obama is reciprocity to those who put him in office in the first place. We've said it before and we'll say it again: President Obama is trying to be too many things to too many people. If he continues to forsake his base, like choosing to focus on health care instead of unemployment, he may just be a one-term president. Check out what Wright has to say below:


Just weeks after his election, President Obama articulated how he understood his mandate. In defending his decision to tap Wall Street insiders to fix Wall Street, the president-elect declared himself the embodiment of change. “It comes from me,” he insisted. Well, now Obama’s got his chance to show and prove. Because if there will be any real economic reform in the next two years, it will come through the president using his administrative authority and bully pulpit. And if he fails to wield that power, his own job will likely be on the line in 2012.

It turns out 2008 was a pretty conventional election: Voters united to reject the party of a terribly unpopular president amid a worsening economy and a frustratingly endless war. Breathless punditry aside, this week’s Republican “tsunami” is similarly textbook politics: Voters united around, well, the same frustrations they had two years ago.

This stuff is basic. Unemployment remains stuck at nearly 10 percent, and if you count the people who are working part-time jobs or who have given up the ghost of work altogether, it’s much higher. Never mind all the people toiling away in multiple jobs to make ends meet, or working longer hours for less money. The economy may be “growing,” but it’s a fake growth that’s relevant to real people only in that it’s happening on their backs — companies are getting more for less out of both workers and consumers. As long as that’s the status quo, whoever’s in charge will be unpopular.


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